In an exploration of artistry, the talented South Korean group AB6IX has made quite an impact on their fans through the messages of their diverse range of music. Having debuted in 2019, the group isn’t necessarily a stranger to the industry, but they’re still new enough to show growth through each era of their evolutionary discography.
The progression of music appreciation on an international scope is expanding with every passing day, and certain artists have navigated that ever-changing industry with hard work and determination — cardinal traits displayed by AB6IX’s four members WOONG, DONGHYUN, WOOJIN, and DAEHWI.
AB6IX has not only dropped several EP’s and a full album, but they’ve taken on the task of remixing songs with some other notable heavy-hitters in the industry. The group recently collaborated on a remix with Why Don’t We for the “Fallin’ (Adrenaline) [AB6IX Remix]” and previously remixed Lizzo’s single “Truth Hurts” providing a remarkable combination of two styles merging into something great. Though AB6IX has displayed their willingness to try new ideas, and work on unique features — the group’s flexibility propelled their already prominent reputation for themselves.
The newest endeavor from AB6IX is an album reissue titled SALUTE: A NEW HOPE, with three new songs as well as reimagined versions of their previous hit singles, becoming one of their strongest releases to date. The new music gives fans a chance to hear a different, more personal side of AB6IX, with the reimagined tracks awarding us a chance to appreciate not only the group’s adaptability — but their growing passion for music.
Songs such as “Salute” which is already an esteemed track, finds new life and feels like it adds a stronger emphasis on their earlier work. On the other hand, the introduction of new music like “Stay Young” has a youthful spark to prove AB6IX will always find a way to creatively entertain. With their stacked award nominations and new music available, we spoke to the group about their ideas, as well as some of their favorite concepts — because AB6IX has an evident appreciation for variety.
Congratulations on the new album Salute: A New Hope! I love how there was essentially a re-envisioning of some of your earlier work, also taking the time to introduce a few new tracks! What inspired this exciting fusion?
WOONG: All inspiration starts from the idea of showing things that ABNEWs would like and I think over and over again what musical colors and stories only AB6IX can show and this is what I am still trying hard to figure out.
DONGHYUN: This was our first time working on a repackage album and through ‘SALUTE: A NEW HOPE’ we had a whole new chance to try a new thing.
WOOJIN: We have always wanted to try more various music styles and the members thought a lot about what kind of new aspects of AB6IX can we show.
DAEHWI: By releasing a remixed version of tracks previously released, we wanted fans to feel the novelty, ‘Friendly tracks can be changed like this’.
You introduced your new single “Stay Young” and it’s a very uplifting, optimistic track! How was the song and or video initially conceptualized?
WOONG: The keyword of title track ‘STAY YOUNG’ is ‘Youth’ and we conceptualized it by thinking both how people think about youth and how AB6IX think about youth.
DONGHYUN: We started with the keyword ‘Youth’ and I think WOOJIN created the track and choreography that goes good with the keyword.
WOOJIN: I really wanted to tell stories which fans can relate to and while searching for the theme that could give comfort, the word ‘Youth’ came up. The word ‘Youth’ seemed like a topic that lot of people could relate to and I have been wanted to try this kind of music.
DAEHWI: We have shown you strong, charismatic AB6IX through the title song ‘SALUTE’ from the last album, this repackage album focused on the word ‘Hope’ which is quite contrary to the previously released album. We tried to show a bright and refreshing image of AB6IX.
One of my personal favorite things about this release is the good mix of genres! There are a few more lyrically driven songs with heart, and then you have some rhythmic dance tracks to keep it diverse. When it comes to your individual styles, what would you say is your stylistic comfort zone?
WOONG: I try not to limit the style of the song. I haven’t shown much of myself yet so I am planning to show myself trying various genres of songs.
DONGHYUN: Among this repackage album, I am most confident with ‘SURREAL (Alternative Rock Mix)’. It was the genre that I like the most and one that I really wanted to try.
WOOJIN: I like sentimental vibes of songs that are with emotional feelings and I am pretty much confident with the dance tracks so I could say I am confident with either genres.
DAEHWI: In my case, I would like to say I am good with songs like our 3rd track ‘ENCORE (Feat. ABNEW)’. Since I think my singing style and vocal tone stand out a little bit, so I feel comfortable to sing a song that I wrote.
I think in terms of evolving as artists, you really managed to exhibit your growth with this new album! Did you feel any sort of change in confidence or certainty that was different from the first time recording?
WOONG: It seems to be definitely different from the first time I recorded it. During this album preparation, I felt a sense of happiness and accomplishment so I naturally thought that I’m getting better.
DONGHYUN: Compared to the first recording, I think I work on it with a little more comfortable mind and less pressure.
WOOJIN: There are still a lot more to work on but it seems like my capability spectrum has been broadened more than the first time, and I can better express the story I want to tell.
DAEHWI: When we are taking a break between album releases I steadily get vocal lessons so I might can hear you my vocal that are improving continuously without being stagnant.
What would you say has been the most rewarding aspect of this release for each of you?
WOONG: I feel most rewarding when many ABNEWs send love and leave positive feedbacks or comments on AB6IX’s albums and songs.
DONGHYUN: It was rewarding when ABNEWs like our songs and when I hear fans saying that our song comforted them.
WOOJIN: I liked the most when I finally created the song ‘STAY YOUNG’ and the day I released the song and shared to our fans. I also felt proud of myself when I heard fans reaction, ‘It comforted me a lot’.
DAEHWI: It was very meaningful to add ABNEWs’ voice on our track ‘ENCORE (Feat. ABNEW)’. Thanks to our CEO for the idea.
You’ve done some really fantastic remixes of songs that get to spotlight your range (most recently with Why Don’t We) — what has been the best part about getting to work on these unique collaborations?
WOONG: The biggest attraction is to be being able to challenge various genres of songs. I want to gradually broaden my musical spectrum so that I can sing any kind of style.
DONGHYUN: It was great to be able to sing a whole new style of the song that I have never tried before and it was also very nice to be able to work with one of my favorite artists.
WOOJIN: I was able to challenge various kinds of genre and it was a great opportunity for us to grow.
DAEHWI: By collaborating with fabulous artists from overseas, it was a great opportunity to wider range of expression and which also helps me grow musically. I feel grateful for being able to do so many different works.
You’ve had every one of your album or EP releases land in the Top 5 on Gaon Album Chart, which is tremendously admirable! Now that you have this chapter under your belts, where do you envision taking AB6IX next? What concepts would you like to try or return to?
WOONG: I would like to work on exciting songs which people can get energized by listening to our songs since people are having hard time in exhausted situation because of the covid19.
DONGHYUN: I would like to challenge the song with a dreamy vibe.
WOOJIN: I would like to make clear color of AB6IX through music.
DAEHWI: I would like to make a songs that people can relate to and enjoy, since we are all having hard time in this pandemic.
Is there any last message you’d like to share with ABNEW?
WOONG: Thank you so much for always being there, believing in us and sending endless love to us. Although we can’t repay ABNEWs’ love with any words or actions, we will always do our best and grow endlessly so I would like to ask ABNEWs to join our journey together. Thank you so much and I love you!
DONGHYUN: Thank you so much to our fans always supporting us and we will continue to work hard!
WOOJIN: I can’t thank you enough for your support from everywhere at any time. Please let us be together forever so that we can pay back your love as much as possible! Love you ABNEW!
DAEHWI: Thank you so much for your support on this repackage album! We will be back soon with the next album so please wait a bit! Be safe with Covid19 and I hope to see you under better circumstances.